For the protection of our customers and employees Joy’s Stump Grinding and Tree Service, Inc. is fully insured with both General Liability & Workers Compensation Insurances
Be sure to protect your family and property by only hiring companies that are completely insured.
Here is just one of many true stories that illustrate this problem:
Orlando Sentinel / August 25, 2002 – By Robert Bruss, Tribune Media Services.
Joseph Truman hired Anthony’s Tree Service (ATS) to trim his tall trees for $450. ATS’s owner, Eliseo, gave Truman his business card describing ATS services.
The business card listed a license number so Truman concluded the Company was experienced and capable of doing the tree trimming. The license number, however, was for an expired city business license and did not assure ATS was capable to doing the dangerous tree trimming work.
When Truman asked ATS Owner Eliseo for evidence of his workers’ compensation insurance on his tree trimmer employees, he showed Truman an expired policy. Eliseo promised to bring the current policy the next day when the tree trimming was to begin.
But the next day, before tree trimming began, Eliseo told Truman he forgot to bring the current workers’ compensation insurance policy. However, Truman allowed work to begin because he figured the license number on the ATS business card meant there was adequate insurance.
Unfortunately, ATS tree trimmer employee Miguel was severely injured when he fell from a tall tree. Upon learning his employer, ATS, had no workers’ compensation insurance, Miguel sued homeowner Truman. When Truman contacted his homeowner’s insurance company, he learned he was not insured for this type of injury because Miguel was not Truman’s direct household employee. If you were the judge, would you rule Truman is liable to tree trimmer Miguel for his injury damages? Well, the judge ruled YES he was. Because ATS was uninsured for workers’ compensation, the judge explained, Truman became the employer of Miguel. Therefore, homeowner Truman was obligated to provide workers’ compensation insurance benefits to the injured Miguel.
This type of very dangerous work does not come within the household employee exception for coverage under the federal Occupational Safety and Health Act (OSHA) rules, the judge emphasized. At the very least, the judge continued, homeowner Truman should have verified the ATS workers’ compensation insurance policy. Therefore, homeowner Truman can be held liable to Miguel for his uninsured injuries, the judge ruled.
Workers compensation coverage adds considerable cost to job overhead. These expenses could be the cause of wide variations in prices between contractors who follow the standards versus those who choose to ignore them.
The only way to determine if the contractor you are planning to hire has insurance is to request that the contractor’s insurance company (or companies) sends directly to you a copy of the insurance certificate. The certificate should have your name as the certificate holder, so that if the insurance policy is cancelled before the expiration date, the insurance company will notify you of the cancellation. Because some contractors have actually forged such documents, you should never accept a copy of an insurance certificate directly from the contractor. A typical insurance certificate lists the types of insurance the contractor has through the company and includes the policy number, effective dates, and policy limits. If a section is not completed, the contractor does not have this type of insurance coverage through the certificate-issuing insurance company.